How are Padres Still in the Machado/Harper Sweepstakes?

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Credit: NBC

The concept of a player opt-out has given the San Diego Padres an opportunity to compete with the big spenders in terms of attracting the services of players such as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Let’s explore how the Padres still remain serious contenders in signing either free agent this winter.

Seeing the San Diego Padres linked to free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper is strange.

Notoriously a frugal franchise, the Padres have done a lot to change that image in recent memory. In the last four years, the team has invested a ton of money in different aspects of their organization. Some fans still insist the team is not putting in an effort, but their investments in the last four seasons say differently.

The team signed James Shields in free agency just before the 2015 season. He was given the richest free agent contract to date in the history of the team (four-years/$75 million). The next season, while in rebuild mode, the Padres spent over $90 million in international talent during their 2016-17 spending spree. Next came the extension of Wil Myers, guaranteeing him $83 million for six seasons before the start of the 2017 campaign. Last season, just before the spring, the team signed free agent Eric Hosmer to a seven-year/$144 million deal, which was the biggest contract ever handed out by the Padres. They are spending money. You CANNOT debate that.

To date, the team has only signed Ian Kinsler and Garrett Richards this winter. They spent $23 million on the two, and it is safe to say that the Padres still have money to spend. The open market has been extremely slow this winter so anything can happen. Eric Hosmer was not signed until mid-February last year. The Padres are wisely waiting in the weeds to pounce on potential additions.

In excess of $260-$300 million is what it will cost to land either Machado or Harper. The finish line is near. The two will sign a deal soon. But how can the Padres afford that type of commitment, and how exactly are they still in the running? The simple answer is the player opt-out.

Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are both 26 years old and would love the opportunity to test the free agent market once again in three or four years. If they continue their offensive dominance, the two will easily opt out of ANY deal in a quest to become the new highest paid player in the game come 2022 or 2023. If they sign an eight or nine-year deal, their representatives will have a clause to opt out of the contract around halfway through it. That’s a guarantee.

(Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

By having this player opt-out in a proposed contract, an eight or nine-year deal magically turns into a three or four-year deal. That is where we are presently in the situation, and that is why so many teams are starting to join the running for either star’s services. The San Francisco Giants have horrible financial issues moving forward, but they are rumored to be speaking with Bryce Harper. An opportunity to sign a top 10 player in the game, in their peak performing seasons, for three or four years, is quite enticing. In the case of these two men, the player opt-out could be beneficial for teams. It could be worth a gamble.

The Padres could offer $280 million for eight seasons with an opt-out after three or four, taking the true value of the deal somewhere around $105 or $140 million. That sounds way more reasonable and would give the Padres a true all-star caliber talent to mentor the youth that is on the way. $35 million per season (on average) for one single player is a lot, but with so many young players on the roster, the Friars will not have homegrown free agents until the 2023 season at the earliest. Conceivably, the Harper or Machado era would end by then and the Padres could strategically extend players financially who are worth it. This is a complicated strategy, but you can see how it could possibly work.

Let’s face it; for the Padres to be competitive each and every season moving forward, they need to think outside the box. Harper and Machado will opt out of the deal they sign in the coming weeks. Each is almost a lock to remain valuable players in the league. They are too young to tail off in production. The only way for this whole thing to fall apart for the Padres is if the signed player gets injured or production falls off completely. That is the risk. If you get three or four mediocre years from one of these stars, then they could just stick to the signed deal and not want to test the open market. The opt-out theory would be for nothing. Most in the game believe both players will easily justify the money spent on them. If the Padres come to that same conclusion, then they could be highly motivated to sign one of these talented players. With money to spend, now is the time for the Padres to make a splash, and at the same time do something financially responsible. Adding a superstar would only help build the value of the franchise and the player opt-out could be the key to the whole situation.

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James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.

5 thoughts on “How are Padres Still in the Machado/Harper Sweepstakes?

  1. The love of $ and the 10 year contract will ruin all but the top 5 payrolls. Tatis can and probably will play 3rd when one of our other better defensive ss prospects arrive. What’s wrong with .250 at great defensive Catcher. Center and Short? Only a problem when that leads the team.
    Sign Moose for 2-3 years. Then play the kids.
    Add starting pitching every year.
    Are we close to Hosmer’s opt out yet?

  2. Pony up the $ to be competitive! Signing guys like Harper and Machado not only help the team win. But they will also attract future free agents to come on board. Maybe Strausburgh who already has SDSU ties? A couple solid star power signings + our upcoming Prospects injected in should = many wins!!!

  3. The problems go deeper than money. We are supposed to be following the Astros/Cubs model which both created star ML players from within. They both then added pitching from outside the Organization as the base improved.

    Our Development Staff has huge problems getting our position players ready for Big League success. They don’t get on base enough, and they ALL strike out too much. Margot who gas great speed can’t steal a base well at all. For some reason many of our pitchers get hurt and loose a year to a year and half.

    AJ’s solution is to buy better more established players and trade off the kids. I think Tatis Jr. actually being able to stay at SS has caught them unprepared because they didn’t find a 3B because they thought Tatis was that person.

    Having a Stud player at 3B is something half the playoff teams had last year. Sign Moustakas, trade Myers, PLAY THE KIDS!!!!

  4. When Fowler bought the team he said they would field a team that could compete for the WS every year. Note to Fowler: that cannot be done on the cheap. And running a payroll of $94 million is doing it on the cheap. One time investments in the farm system, moron-caliber extensions and FA signings are no excuse. Suck it up, put on your big boy pants and spend what it takes to bring in excellent players and create the WS competitor.
    He is benefiting from a taxpayer subsidized stadium, he owes the fans.

  5. I would say the complaint is, not that the Padres didn’t spend money, but at the big league level did not spend it wisely. They extended Myers too early, overpaid Hosmer and got lucky in being able to get Tatis for Shields who was another bad signing. The whole Kemp fiasco is another issue. Love what they have done in building their minor league system but more intelligent decisions need to be made with the major league team.

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